How to Grow Blackberries: Planting, Propagation & Removal: The blackberry is a perennial favorite for any garden. Once planted, it is vigorous and productive, sometimes to the point that the blackberry can become a nuisance. With the right tips, however, growing blackberries is an exciting task for any amateur gardener and is rewarded by good harvests. But are you interested in how to grow blackberries at home? We tell you what is important when planting blackberries, how to grow blackberries, and what tools you need, and how to prevent the blackberry from growing out of control.
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- Blackberry Varieties
- Popular Blackberry Varieties:
- How to Grow Blackberries: Planting Blackberries
- Planting blackberries: location
- Planting blackberries: When and how?
- Propagating Blackberries
- Root cuttings
- Watering Blackberries
- Fertilize Blackberries
- Pruning Blackberries
- Blackberries: When is Harvest Time?
- Picking Blackberries: The Best Way to Proceed
- Final Thoughts: How to Grow Blackberries?
- Where does blackberry grow best?
- Do Blackberries need a trellis?
- How tall do blackberry bushes get?
- Why are my blackberry bushes not flowering?
Wild blackberries tend to be particularly prickly, making harvesting the sweet fruit literally “doom and gloom.” For cultivation in the garden, some thornless varieties can easily keep up with their thorny relatives in terms of taste – they are also often mistakenly referred to as “thornless” blackberries. However, like all other rose family plants (Rosaceae), the blackberry botanically does not have thorns but spines.
Popular Blackberry Varieties:
- ‘Navaho’: If you are thinking of growing thornless blackberries, it is the best choice for you. Large, shiny fruit with aromatic flavor; thornless and robust variety with strongly upright-growing, long canes; pink flowers.
- ‘Black Satin’: Medium to strong upright growing variety; thornless; very productive; shiny black fruits with moderate flavor; somewhat susceptible to frost and disease
- ‘Loch Ness’: Semi-upright growing canes; thornless; very large, firm fruits with aromatic-sweet taste; very productive; susceptible to disease
- ‘Asterina’: Robust cultivar with very large, firm fruits; sweet taste; thornless; medium vigor
- ‘Jumbo’: Thornless, very high-yielding variety; strong-growing; very large, soft fruits, which, however, do not taste very good
- ‘Chester Thornless’: Vigorous, climbing variety with large, good tasting fruits; thornless; late maturing and bearing until the first frost; high ornamental value due to beautiful flowers
- ‘Baby Cakes’: Special Braze berry cultivar; similar in appearance to a small blueberry bush that can be grown in a pot; high ornamental value, but lower yields
- ‘Black Cascade’: Bushy, slow-growing cultivar that can be grown in a hanging basket because of its overhanging shoots; medium-sized, sweet fruits; young canes are prickly, but after pruning, the prickliness decreases.
Tip: Before planting, you can immerse the entire root ball once underwater- Then it soaks up, and all fine roots are supplied with water.
How to Grow Blackberries: Planting Blackberries
Blackberry is a hardy shrub that does well with less favorable conditions. However, there are some basic conditions that you should by no means deny your prickly berry. We explain step by step how to make your beloved blackberry perform at its best.
Planting blackberries: location
Blackberries are very vigorous, even in poorer locations. Soil requirements are not particularly high, but if the soil is particularly heavy and poor in humus, add some fertilizer or rotted material to the planting hole when planting blackberries.
Planting blackberries: When and how?
When you are searching for how to grow blackberries, you have to know the right time & proper process. Basically, you cannot name a specific time to plant blackberries because they are very hardy anyway. In addition, the tasty blackberry is nowadays almost exclusively sold with a root ball, so it brings the best conditions for a good start in your own bed. A well-rooted blackberry can be recognized by the fact that the entire root ball can be pulled out of the flower pot without leaving any residue.
Tips: It is advisable to plant the blackberry in the fall (September/October), as the bushes already sprout in early spring. To do this, loosen the soil generously and deeply to provide an optimal foundation for the fine roots to grow.
After you have planted the blackberry stem, cover the planting hole again and gently press the soil all around the stem. To protect the soil from too much evaporation, you can cover the bed with a thin layer of bark mulch.
Fortunately, the propagation of blackberries is relatively simple. When propagating, you should only pay attention to whether it is a climbing or an upright blackberry variety. Upright varieties are best propagated by root cuttings or runners. Climbing or creeping blackberries can be propagated by root cuttings as well as by cuttings and stolon.
Every now and then, blackberry plants sprout underground and emerge from the ground some distance away. If necessary, this new plant can be pricked out with a root cutting as long as possible and replanted in another location.
For this, use root cuttings that have at least one or two shoot buds. These are placed in a box with moist organic herb & seed soil and covered with soil. Then the seed tray is placed in a bright, cool, and well-ventilated place. In the best case, new, small plantlets will sprout from the root pieces over the winter.
To know how to grow blackberries from cuttings, this is the part for you. For this purpose, one-year-old shoots of the bush are cut and divided into pieces, each with two to three nodules (leaf nodes). Then these are put into pots with a loose growing medium. Under warm and humid conditions, in a few weeks, the cuttings will form enough roots to provide themselves with nutrients.
Watering is one of the most important blackberry plant care. The blackberry is a thirsty berry. Therefore, already when planting, you should ensure adequate watering of the roots. Due to its rapid growth and juicy berries, water consumption is relatively high. For this reason, make sure that your favorites are always in moist soil, without the blackberry sinking into waterlogging. Daily watering is therefore appropriate, especially in hotter temperatures.
Regular applications of fertilizer are necessary for blackberries to grow vigorously and produce lots of fruit. It is best to fertilize blackberries in early spring (March) with a primarily organic slow-release fertilizer of organic quality. Your garden compost can also be used as a supplement. A mulch layer of lawn clippings also provides a good humus supply.
Blackberries need regular pruning to keep them in shape and to protect them against pests. Each year, the annual shoots that have already borne fruit are cut back very generously. Usually, this maintenance pruning is done before winter to make the plant more resistant for the winter and to deprive pests such as the blackberry mite of their winter quarters.
Blackberries: When is Harvest Time?
It is not possible to give an exact date for harvesting blackberries because the plants produce fruit again and again over a relatively long period. This is due to the uneven flowering time of the blackberry. For us, this is good because it means we can always harvest fresh blackberries when we need them, without the risk of them spoiling in the refrigerator. Blackberry harvesting can extend from July to October, depending on the variety.
Picking Blackberries: The Best Way to Proceed
The blackberry is composed of numerous small drupes. So, from a botanical point of view, they are actually not called berries but aggregate drupes. The fruits are ripe when they shine blue-black and almost fall off by themselves when picked. Then they taste the sweetest. When picking blackberries, wear gloves to avoid injuries from the prickles. But now, there are excellent thornless cultivars, which facilitate the cultivation and care.
Tip: If you are using blackberries in a dessert, for example, it is often advisable to serve them still slightly frozen. This conveys more freshness and gives the berry a bit more bite.
Final Thoughts: How to Grow Blackberries?
Despite their great qualities, it is no wonder you are here to know how to grow blackberries. Wild relatives of our garden varieties, in particular, can become unwelcome intruders in our gardens. If this is the case, there are several ways to get rid of the once overgrown blackberries. First, this is possible by mechanical removal, that is, by cutting and digging up the stolon. In addition, there is also the possibility of combating the blackberry with pesticides – however, agents containing glyphosate are not only viewed critically in gardening circles.
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Frequently Answered Questions
Where does blackberry grow best?
Almost all varieties of blackberries grow best if grown under full sun.
Do Blackberries need a trellis?
Yes. Blackberry plants are mainly like vines. They need strong trellising to support the canes and to keep the fruits off the ground.
How tall do blackberry bushes get?
Blackberries usually grow into bushes 3 – 4 feet tall when.
Why are my blackberry bushes not flowering?
There can be many reasons why your blackberry bushes are not flowering. However, the main reason can be pests. Insects like fruit worm beetles, thrips, mites, and raspberries can cause fruiting problems in your blackberry plants. To get rid of them, Check the bush carefully and use good quality pesticides.